A bicycle accident can cause grievous injuries to a rider, especially if a vehicle is involved. However, most crashes only involve the rider, who loses control for some reason. Occasionally, a rider may lose control because of dangerous road conditions, which is often the fault of the local municipality. Regardless of how a rider is hurt, though, there are important procedures to follow to ensure the strongest possible case. And, of course, the rider has to be safe while on the road, or they may be held liable themselves.

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF BICYCLE ACCIDENT INJURIES?

Only about 11 percent of crashes involve a car, but these tend to produce the worst injuries. The huge difference in speed and mass, along with the minimal protection afforded to the rider, almost guarantees the rider will be hurt to some extent if they are hit by a car. Most bad crashes occur at intersections, even though a rider will spend little time pedaling through one. Wrecks that happen at intersections are usually due to a failure to yield or when a motorist turns right when a rider is next to them, thereby cutting them off or sideswiping them. This is known as the “right hook” and it can cause the rider to be pulled under the vehicle or knocked clean off their seat.

Another common crash is called the “left cross” and occurs when a motorist attempts to turn suddenly left in front of the rider
. If the motorist misjudges the rider’s speed or just isn’t paying attention, they may collide with the rider head-on.

Most wrecks, though, don’t involve motorists, or even other vehicles. Riders often lose control suddenly, often due to dangerous road conditions. For example, sewer grates that run parallel to the road can grab a wheel as a rider passes over them, either throwing the rider or leaving them immobilized in the middle of the road. Potholes, poor signage, and obscured stop signs are all common hazards riders have to contend with as well.

WHAT SHOULD A RIDER DO IN THE EVENT OF A BICYCLE ACCIDENT?

As long as a rider pays attention to all traffic laws and isn’t riding against traffic at the time of a crash, they will be able to pursue an injury claim against the motorist or city. However, it is essential that a rider gather as much information possible in the moments following a wreck.

First, it is extremely important that a rider remain at the crash site until police arrive. Do not allow the motorist to talk you out of contacting the police, as this will make it nearly impossible to recoup damages, and many riders don’t realize how hurt they are until hours or days following the crash. By then, it will be too late to track down the driver. Make sure the police get your side of the story and approach witnesses and get their contact information. Finally, seek treatment for all injuries, no matter how minor. Medical records that corroborate your claim will be a powerful piece of evidence for the court, and minor injuries can become major if left untreated.

And if injuries are present, a personal injury attorney can represent a claim, ensuring that the rider receives the best possible representation before the court.